The effects of COVID-19 have spread to the cancellation of the Friday Farmers’ Market.
The final indoor market of the winter season was scheduled to go Friday, March 20 at Kal Tire Place. With the venue closed, organizers were looking at moving the market outdoors, but those plans have been dashed.
“We are at the hands of the municipality,” said market manager Ingrid Baron. “Now we’re working on Plan C for the regular outdoor season.”
Moving outdoors ahead of the planned April 16 outdoor season proved challenging for the market.
“The main thing for us, we didn’t have time and resources right now to have Porta Potties and hand-wash stations in place because the building is, of course, closed to the public.”
It’s now a waiting game to see what, if any, further restrictions are put in place beyond social distancing and events permitted to have less than 50 people.
“So we’ll see,” said Baron, who also puts on the large craft fair Shoparama, which was scheduled April 4-5, but has also been cancelled.
“This is a difficult time for our small businesses and local vendors as all of these types of events have been put on hold. Please reach out for other ways of supporting them.”
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control so far has consulted with the Provincial Health Officer and approved markets to go ahead.
“Farmers’ markets are not currently considered a high-risk setting for the transmission of COVID-19,” said physician epidemiologist Dr. Eleni Galanis, in a letter to the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. “Farmers’ markets are usually held outdoors and there are usually a limited number of people in any one area at the same time.”
Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union says farmers markets are an essential service.
“As non-essential businesses are shut down across the country, many farmers markets are also being forced to close,” the NFU states.
“As long as grocery stores remain open to the public, so should farmers markets.”